Scores of bands to take part in socially distanced Twelfth parades

The Twelfth will look different this year due to the pandemic

SCORES of bands will take part in socially distanced parades across Northern Ireland today as part of July Twelfth commemorations.

The Parades Commission received submissions from more than 200 marching bands after lockdown restrictions were eased to allow a maximum of 30 people to attend outdoor gatherings.

Towns and cities from Annalong to Belfast and Limavady will hold parades in line with Covid-19 regulations.

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Because July 12 fell on a Sunday, the majority are being held today.

In Belfast, bands including Pride of Shankill Flute Band, Pride of Ardoyne Colour Party, Upper Falls Protestant Flute Band and Pride of the Lagan Valley are to march during the morning and early afternoon.

Translink has said there will be some diversions in place to accommodate parades, with the PSNI trying to "keep traffic disruption to a minimum".

Conditions have been imposed on a parade in Stoneyford.

Stoneyford Drumming Club's parade has been restricted to a march lasting just 15 minutes from its assembly point at the Orange Hall and along Main Street to the War Memorial "where it will disperse promptly" as it is "prohibited from proceeding on any part of its notified return route".

A spokesperson for the Parades Commission said: "Early cancellation of the Twelfth by the Orange Order has created the template for parading this summer, with the main demonstrations not taking place. The Apprentice Boys and the Royal Black Preceptory have cancelled their August demonstrations.

"Individual bands with 30 participants have planned local parades on 11 to 13 July and to date there are 287 notified parades. The Commission has considered it necessary to impose restrictions on three parades based upon pre-existing parading tensions in those specific locations."

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